Tim Blakeley, manager of Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary, shows marijuana plant buds on May 11, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Medical marijuana cards surpass 11,500

BY: - August 21, 2023

More than 11,500 South Dakotans hold medical marijuana cards two years after medical cannabis became legal in South Dakota. That’s well ahead of projections made by the state when the program first started in 2021, said Jennifer Seale, the state Department of Health’s medical cannabis program administrator. The state began issuing cards in November 2021 […]

Hundreds of people attend the Aug. 17, 2023, grand opening of a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

With reorganization plans squashed for now, VA celebrates new Rapid City clinic

BY: - August 17, 2023

RAPID CITY — The long-debated, evolving plans for veterans’ health care in the Black Hills took a step forward Thursday with the grand opening of a new outpatient clinic. The 49,000-square-foot Rapid City facility is triple the size of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ previous clinic in the city. That’s a welcome development for Ricky […]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, May 17, 2023. (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)

Abortion pill to stay on the market until U.S. Supreme Court ruling after appeals court order

BY: - August 16, 2023

UPDATED 4:15 p.m. Central, 8/16/23 WASHINGTON —  A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday the abortion pill can stay on the market, but it agreed with a lower court that ultimately use should revert to prescribing and dosage instructions that were in place before 2016. That appeals court ruling will immediately be put on hold until […]

Linda Noneo's work as a community health representative for her tribe in Nevada is focused on providing transportation to health care appointments for Fallon Paiute-Shoshone members. After driving two patients to their dialysis treatments at a clinic nearby in late June, Noneo logs the time and mileage on a sheet of paper. (Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez/KFF Health News)

South Dakota one of three states where tribal health workers are eligible to be paid like peers

BY: - August 15, 2023

FALLON, Nev. — Linda Noneo turned up the heat in her van to ward off the early morning chill that persists in northern Nevada’s high desert even in late June. As the first rays of daylight broke over a Christian cross on the top a hill near the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone colony, she drove toward her […]

South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Jordan Melius stops a motorcyclist during the 2023 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. (Courtesy of South Dakota Highway Patrol)

At least 11 die in motorcycle accidents before and during Sturgis rally

BY: - August 14, 2023

Three more people died in motorcycle crashes over the weekend as the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally ended, bringing the total number of traffic deaths officially and unofficially connected with this year’s rally to at least 11. The rally began Aug. 4 and ended Sunday. Traffic counters recorded roughly 458,000 vehicles in Sturgis, which was down […]

Full length side view of female nurse pushing senior man on wheelchair at hospital corridor

Six SD nursing homes are among nation’s worst-rated

BY: - August 13, 2023

Six of South Dakota’s 98 nursing homes are on a federal list of the nation’s worst-rated care facilities. Five of the facilities are eligible for a special program to improve quality of care through increased regulatory oversight, and the other one is already in the program. The five eligible South Dakota facilities as of the […]

Attendees at the 2023 South Dakota Suicide Prevention Conference take video of an inspirational message for those in need, at the direction of keynote speaker Kevin Hines. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

‘I want to speak life into people’: State takes all-in approach to suicide prevention

BY: - August 11, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — Roslyn Ward lost her 35-year-old son to suicide last October. The loss turned the Lemmon mother into an advocate for suicide prevention, and she founded an organization called “Hope … Your Life Matters.”  Ward was on hand Friday in Sioux Falls for the South Dakota Suicide Prevention Conference to gather ideas, inspiration […]

A postcard and agenda on display at the South Dakota Suicide Prevention Conference, held Aug. 10-11, 2023, in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

‘Rethinking Suicide’: Expert urges South Dakota audience to challenge assumptions

BY: - August 10, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — The Centers for Disease Control says up to 45% of the people who kill themselves had no history of mental illness. Psychiatrists and psychologists think 90% of them have such a history. The disconnect between the two figures is one reason health care professionals need to look beyond their assumptions if they […]

South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Jordan Melius stops motorcyclists during the 2023 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. (Courtesy of South Dakota Highway Patrol)

Another death raises motorcycle rally’s fatality count

BY: - August 10, 2023

There has been another traffic fatality associated with this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.   The latest death happened Thursday when a 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 and hit a 2008 GMC Yukon head-on, according to the Highway Patrol. The 61-year-old male driver of the motorcycle was wearing […]

Colleen Hannum, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Social Services, presents findings to the state Behavioral Health Advisory Council at the Human Services Center in Yankton on Aug. 9, 2023. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

High schoolers suffer rising mental health challenges, report shows

BY: - August 9, 2023

YANKTON — South Dakota high school students are suffering increased mental health problems, according to a presentation heard Wednesday by the state’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council at the Human Services Center.  Colleen Hannum, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Social Services, presented numerous data points to the board as part of an update. The […]

(Photo illustration by Getty Images)

It’s hard to get stoked about repealing medical marijuana

BY: - August 8, 2023

One feature of South Dakota’s citizen ballot initiative process is that it values effort over expertise. Consider the case of Travis Ismay. The Newell man would like the 2024 election to include a ballot initiative repealing the legality of the state’s medical marijuana program.  Ismay is full of praise for the Legislative Research Council and […]

An opponent of the state's ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender children holds a sign during an event at Van Eps Park in downtown Sioux Falls on July 28, 2023. The protesters called for state lawmakers to repeal the ban. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Why hasn’t a lawsuit challenged SD’s trans health care ban?

BY: and - August 4, 2023

Twenty-one states have implemented laws or policies banning gender-affirming care for transgender children. Nearly half of the laws have been challenged in court, but not South Dakota’s. That’s partly because a similar ban was already blocked by a federal judge in Arkansas earlier this summer. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the Arkansas law in […]